By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The Public Authority for Manpower yesterday re-imposed a ban on the transfer of residences to other activities for residents working in certain sectors, a statement said. Meanwhile, local newspapers and news sites reported that the authority has allowed expats over 60 without a university degree to renew their residency, provided they pay an annual fee of KD 2,000.

The authority said in a statement that workers who were recruited by sectors like industry, agriculture, fishing, free trade zones and cooperative societies were earlier allowed to transfer to any other job, provided their sponsors agreed. It added that this permission was given on a temporary basis due to the circumstances amid the coronavirus pandemic to provide these sectors some flexibility and allow employers to hire workers from the domestic market. The authority said it has decided to cancel this permission and revert to imposing the ban on the transfer of workers in these sectors. The decision comes into effect today.

The authority also reportedly decided to allow expats over 60 years of age without a degree to renew their work permits and residencies against a payment of KD 2,000 annually, local newspapers said. The authority had banned elderly expats from renewing their residencies and asked them to leave the country, which stirred a campaign on social media against the decision. The newspapers said the manpower authority will issue an official decision in the next few days. Expats above 60 who hold university degrees were exempt from the ban.

In related news, PR Director and spokesperson of Public Authority for Manpower Aseel Al-Mezyed said 61,975 work permits were canceled during the first half of the current year. She said the authority processed over 940,059 transactions online, including 38,873 cancellations of work permits of residents who are abroad, in addition to canceling 20,011 work permits due to death or permanent cancelation or transfer to family visa, domestic help or the government sector. Mezyed added 402,000 work permits were renewed, while 99,000 were transferred within the private sector. Sixty-four work permits were also issued to bedoons.

Meanwhile, MP Osama Al-Shaheen yesterday denied that people over 75 years of age are banned from leaving the country. MP Bader Al-Humaidi however called on authorities to abolish the Kuwait Mosafer app registration for people returning to Kuwait, saying having a PCR test certificate is sufficient.